gifted by a goddess and ancient sages

Great blessings bestowed upon me. Such would read the casting of the I-Ching each day I’m with my employer.

F, a co-manager, and I are the only females in a core group of 11. She’s a fascinating woman, part Indian sage, part Earth mother, part angel. We hit it off famously, share a rapport, language and connection that speak again of the blessings, treasures and instruments of positive change that they are in my life.

F has upon her desk a container, deep crimson and inscribed in black with Chinese pictographs, containing I-Ching sticks. To an untrained eye, they look like long matchsticks, the sort you’d use to light a fire in a fireplace. We, she and I, share an interest in spirituality and tools of divination.

I’ve deeply and warmly appreciated and respected her I-Ching sticks, approaching them with highest regard. Time to time, I’ve used them. I’d take the wooden canister to our morning meetings, remove the lid and gently shake the canister at a slight angle until a stick emerges taller than the rest. The number, a small black Roman number paired with its corresponding Chinese character, reveals your fortune or response to a concern, which is found in the little booklet.

Then further blessings were bestowed upon me.

On Friday morning, as F and I were talking ahead of the meeting and I was being kissed a thousand times by their English sheepdog pup, F furtively glanced around the rooms to check that no one else was around, opened her bottom drawer and pulled from it a gift. The I-Ching gift set containing the I Ching: Book of Changes and 50 yarrow sticks “handpicked by farmers in Northeast China specifically for use with the I-Ching.”

Discreetly, because she hadn't gotten gifts for other employees, she handed it to me with words of love, joy, value and appreciation for my presence and my part in their clan, a sentiment mutally shared and expressed on numerous occasions past.

And that is how I received the I-Ching yarrow sticks and corresponding book. Blessedly. From an angel-Earth goddess-tribal sage I’ve come to love and a family of employers for whom my respect only deepens, affection and love grow.

I took great care with the gift box until I could get home for a proper introduction, wrapping it protectively in traditional Japanese style in my large pink-and-black Indian scarf. Once there, we acquainted ourselves that night, the sticks, book and I, as I sat crosslegged on the bed with incense smoking and candle burning.

I read attentively the instructions for casting the 50 yarrow sticks, one of which is pulled out and laid aside to play the role of observer in the inquiry. I’m quite familiar with casting the I-Ching using three coins, which is the quicker and modernized adaption of casting the yarrow sticks, a process taking about 30 minutes.

The procedures are explicit and involve gathering, separating, counting and holding the sticks between fingers in a series of actions until one or two kua, comprising a lower and upper triagram, is created for interpretation in the book.

The process is tactile, which I find enormously appealing, and meditative. And strangely familiar. As I sat in the presence of my inquiry, handling the sticks, I felt “I remember this.” Same feeling I had when as I child I learned to eat with chopsticks. It was like being brought back home.

I do not question the I-Ching yarrow sticks, neither do I disregard. Their wisdom, ancient and enduring, speak to me sure as music and books and imagery and writing.

And to my first inquiry the I-Ching spoke in wholeness, clarity and gentle firmness.

I felt its truth sure as I feel the love and respect from the woman who gifted me with a treasure I hold dear. As I hold her and the clan with which I work.  I am indeed blessed.

Yi = change, easy, simple
Jing = classics, sacred book; pass through, to undergo

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